Younger patients have demonstrated compliance with contact lens replacement schedules and lens care. So it makes sense to introduce them to the most compliance-friendly contact lens modality, with single-use 1•DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® Brand Contact Lenses. In a recent study of approximately 500 myopic children ages 8 to 11 years old, children wearing contact lenses showed greater improvements in self-perception compared to children who continued to wear glasses.1 These improvements were specifically seen in the areas of physical appearance, athletic competence, and acceptance among friends. In addition, children who disliked wearing glasses felt more confident in their schoolwork when they began wearing contact lenses. These results make it clear that fitting your younger patients in 1•DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® Brand Contact Lenses can truly make a difference!
1. Data on file. Johnson & Johnson, 2008.
The level of maturity of each young patient and the degree of parental oversight and support should be taken into account in assessing whether the child can follow your recommended wear and care instructions and is a good candidate for contact lens wear.
ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses are indicated for vision correction. As with any contact lens, eye problems, including corneal ulcers, can develop. Some wearers may experience mild irritation, itching or discomfort. Lenses should not be prescribed if patients have any eye infection, or experience eye discomfort, excessive tearing, vision changes, redness or other eye problems. Consult the package insert for complete information. Complete information is also available from VISTAKON®, Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., by calling 1-800-843-2020 or by visiting jnjvisioncare.com. ACUVUE®, 1•DAY ACUVUE® MOIST®, and VISTAKON® are trademarks of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.
I wanted to share two practice management observations that I believe are subtle signs of a deeper problem. These issues occur in a fairly large number of practices and I struggle with them in mine from time to time. See if you recognize either of these red flags.
Checkout time is too slow
Is your staff able to enter all the charges and transfer appropriate amounts to insurance... while the patient is standing at the front desk? In other words, is it fast and efficient to enter fees for goods and services into your office management software? Or is it so cumbersome that your staff will often give the patient a handwritten receipt statement and keep the file open to enter the charges later?
I strongly believe that charges should be entered with the patient present and a computer generated account receipt should be printed and handed to the patient. Why?
If files are saved to be processed later, some will inadvertently be filed or closed and charges will be never be entered. The balance will show as zero and optical materials could be ordered and dispensed without payment.
A policy of entering charges with the patient present reduces risk of embezzlement. The patient will review the computer printout and report anything that is incorrect, but if charges are never entered, theft becomes tempting.
If it takes too long to enter fees with the patient present then something is wrong with the system. It shouldn't take that long!
I find some office management programs are so complex that they interfere with the important goal of efficiency. In some software, correcting administrative errors is so difficult that employees want to recheck the math before entering charges! Shouldn't the software do that for us? I want the patient to receive a fully processed receipt slip, but I don't want him to have to stand at the desk for several minutes waiting. Generally, by the end of a visit, we have had the patient in our office for quite some time, often an hour or more. At the end, the patient just wants to go!
If you have this problem, analyze the process and talk to your staff to diagnose the cause. If there is nothing you can do internally to speed up the process, talk to your software company about updating the program to allow a quicker checkout.
Is there anyone at your front desk?
I have a challenge for you. Make a point of walking up to your front desk five times randomly during a day and note if there is a staff member present. Calculate your percentage for coverage. In many offices, the front desk is vacant a significant amount of time. Maybe it's just me, and it may be normal in many medical offices, but I'm trying to provide better service than that. I think it is a poor first impression if a patient walks into your office and is not greeted by a smiling face. How long will a patient stand there, not knowing what to do, before he starts to judge the service quality as low? And since we can't plan for when people walk in, I feel a staff member needs to be at the desk virtually all the time.
If you feel your office has become lax in customer service, start by talking to your staff about this issue. Frequently, the staff has just never thought about it much and they are busy doing other work. Receptionists often have other duties and they have to get a file or check for something in the lab. And it is certainly tempting to chat with a friend or get a snack. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with any of those actions, but maybe someone else can cover the front desk.
Of course, it is possible that the receptionist is at the desk but is busy on the phone or with another patient when someone walks up. That is understandable, but how easy is it to make eye contact with the newcomer, smile and gesture this will just take a moment? It's pretty easy and it is very effective.
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week
Dr. Gailmard's new book, Practice Management in Optometry: A Blueprint for Success Based on the Optometric Management Tip of the Week, is now available on Amazon.